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Coombsville AVA
Coombsville AVA
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Coombsville AVA
Coombsville AVA
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Coombsville AVA
Coombsville AVA

Images Courtesy of Suzanne Becker Bronk


The Coombsville AVA is a Napa Valley Appellation with a wide range of elevations and known for its cooler, marine influenced climate directly east of the City of Napa. It was officially designated as a Napa Valley sub-appelation in 2011.





Appellation Details

Tucked into the foothills of the Vaca Mountains, the Coombsville AVA is a Napa Valley Appellation known for its temperate climate directly east of the City of Napa and was officially designated as a Napa Valley sub-appelation 2011. Coombsville is Napa Valley’s newest nested appellation and remains one of the least visited. This is because it is composed primarily of vineyards with only the occasional winery. Coombsville spreads out to the west of the town of Napa and up the slopes of Mt. George. The vast majority of vineyards spread across a west-facing concave bowl formed through millenia of landslides. The soil is primarily volcanic in origin and proximity to the Bay keeps the area awash in fog and sea breezes. Historically, the region was associated with Pinot Noir and especially Chardonnay plantings but many admire the backbone of the region’s Cabernet Sauvignons.

Because of its proximity to the San Pablo Bay, Coombsville experiences cooler temperatures compared to AVAs further north, allowing winemakers to harvest grapes later and at more developed phenolic ripeness. Therefore, many wines from Coombsville show generous soft tannins and notes of dark black fruits such as blackberry and blackcurrant while retaining moderate alcohol and refreshing acidity.

Shaped like a horseshoe, the combination of unique landforms and large elevation differences gives the Coombsville Viticultural Area a fog-protected partial basin with high surrounding ridges which create climatically unique features, including precipitation and heat summation.

Elevation:

  • 100 to 1,000 feet (30-305 m)
  • The elevation of the Coombsville AVA changes from near sea level where it meets the Napa River in the west, to a high of 1900 feet above sea level at the top of the Vaca Mountain Range.

Soils:

  • Abundant rock, gravel and volcanic ash in some areas
  • Dominated by volcanic rhyolitic tuff sedimentary rock and ancient lava flow deposits
  • Well drained
  • Upland soils are weathered from their primary volcanic source
  • Low land soils are alluvial in nature

Climate:

  • Cooler, influenced by proximity to San Pablo Bay
  • Daily average high temperatures can be as much as 10°F cooler during hot months than most other AVAs
  • Heat spikes tend to be less severe.
  • Cooling effects of marine influenced fog occur almost daily during growing season.

Rainfall:

  • 25 inches (65 cm) annually

Principal Varieties:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Chardonnay
  • Merlot



Coombsville AVA History

Nathan Coombs

Nathan Coombs

Coombsville AVA is named after Nathan Coombs, one of the early settlers of Napa County who purchased the area as part of the original Rancho Tulocay from Juarez Cayetano in 1845. Nathan Coombs went on to found the City of Napa on this piece of land in 1847. However, the part of the land grant on the east side of the Napa River was left mostly rural and was focused on farming and livestock.

From the 1840's on, Coombsville’s agricultural orientation was initially focused on livestock and subsistence farming as opposed to vineyard development. It was only in the mid-20th century that the region began to attract attention from grape growers and vintners.

During prohibition, there was little to no wine produced in the area and prune orchards were the dominant form of agriculture. However, vintners began to appreciate the unique climate and geographic features in the mid to late 1960's. In the mid 1970's and continuing into the 1980's more wineries were founded in the area, establishing Coombsville as a unique wine growing region. In 2011, Coombsville was officially recognized as an American Viticultural Area.




Quotes

"Coombsville has been called the ‘cup and saucer appellation’ due to the distinctive circular pattern of the surrounding hills, which geologists define as an ancient volcanic caldera. The volcanic soils and cooler temperatures from Coombsville’s proximity to the San Pablo Bay contribute to the minerality and precision of the tannins here. The wines have a freshness that is exciting."
- Annie Favia, Favia Wines




Notable Wines sourced from Coombsville AVA

J. Moss
J. Moss 2017 'Steffensen Vineyard' Cabernet Sauvignon

The 100% Cabernet Sauvignon is from the noted Steffensen Vineyard in Coombsville. Vintage 2017 in a long-standing vertical series from Steffensen Vineyard. The wine showcases why Coombsville is a rising star AVA producing some of Napa's most exciting new Cabernets in a slightly cooler AVA known for bright fruit profiles and well maintained acid structure.

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Celani Family Vineyards
Celani Family Vineyards 2018 'Ardore' Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2018 Ardore is made from a careful selection of 10 barrels of Cabernet Sauvignon made from the most exceptional vineyard sites in Napa Valley’s Coombsville AVA. Aged for 22 months in 100% new French oak barrels, Ardore is never fined nor filtered.

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John Anthony Vineyards
John Anthony Vineyards 2012 'Coombsville Cabernet Sauvignon' Cabernet Sauvignon

Elegant and focused, the Coombsville Cabernet Sauvignon is Bordeaux-esque in its earthy tones typical of this cooler Napa Valley appellation. Layered with flavors of dark fruit, spice and toasty barrel notes, this wine has richness, structure and balance.

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Sequoia Grove Winery
Sequoia Grove Winery 2019 'CHRISTIAN Vineyard' Cabernet Sauvignon

This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wine shows the terroir from a cooler vineyard site in Coombsville called the Christian vineyard. The unique site, a very well-drained knoll, planted to a low vigor rootstock-101-14-creates small, flavor packed berries. The vineyard is meticulously farmed by the Christian family.

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Coombsville AVA Resources and References

  1. "Establishment of the Coombsville Viticultural Area" (76 FR 77677). Federal Register. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. December 14, 2011. pp. 77677–77684
  2. Doren, Kelly (December 15, 2011). "Coombsville becomes Napa's 16th appellation". Napa Valley Register. Napa, CA: Lee Enterprises, Inc. Retrieved December 16, 2011.
  3. Palmer, Lyman L.; Wells, Harry Laurenz (1881). History of Napa and Lake Counties, California. Slocum, Bowen & Company. ISBN 978-1363000555.
  4. Weber, Lin (1998). Old Napa Valley: The History to 1900. Wine Ventures Publishing. ISBN 9780966701401.
  5. Coombsville AVA. (n.d.). Retrieved September 23, 2022, from http://www.coombsvillenapa.org/

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